A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period

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Lot 222
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl
Xuande six-character mark and of the period

Sold for £ 62,500 (US$ 80,480) inc. premium
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl
Xuande six-character mark and of the period
Heavily potted and exceptionally finely painted on the exterior in vibrant blue with characteristic 'heaping and piling' with two striding five-clawed dragons amongst billowing cloud scrolls, the six-character mark beneath the border with foaming waves below the rim, the foot with a band of lappets, the interior with a double line of underglaze blue below the rim, the remainder of the interior and the base left unglazed.
26.2cm (10 1/4in) diam.

Footnotes

  • 明宣德 青花雲龍趕珠紋缽 青花「大明宣德年制」楷書款

    Heavily potted bowls painted with dragons, such as the present lot, are known in two different types: the 'dice' bowl, with a glazed interior and the mark in a double circle in the well, and the much rarer 'mortar' bowl, with an unglazed interior and the mark painted in a line under the rim, such as the present lot. Few other examples of the mortar bowl are known, however one such bowl was excavated at the site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, and published in Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods, Hong Kong, 1989, no. 84; and another also excavated at Jingdezhen was exhibited at the Chang Foundation, Xuande Imperial Porcelain excavated at Jingdezhen, Taipei, 1998, no.16-2.

    Two examples of dice bowls, with a very similar shape and dragon decoration but with a glazed interior, are in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 1998, pp.128-9, no.37, and A Panorama of Ceramics in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Hsüan-te Ware I, Taipei, 2000, pp.130-31, no.35. Another example in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art is illustrated by M.Medley, The World's Great Collections, Oriental Ceramics, Vol.6, Japan, 1982, no.97.

    The Xuande emperor was very close in artistic sensibility to his grandfather, the Yongle emperor, under whose reign Imperial porcelain production at Jingdezhen developed rapidly. The Xuande Emperor was renowned for his own artistic sensibilities, including taking a close interest in porcelain wares. This appears to have encouraged a spirit of creativity along with rigorous standards at the kilns. Among the extremely varied forms and decorative styles produced, pieces such as the present lot represent the finest productions of the period.
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A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
A very rare blue and white 'mortar' bowl Xuande six-character mark and of the period
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